Howard Brenton: Weapons of Happiness

(1096 words)

Howard Brenton’s Weapons Of Happiness inaugurated the Lyttleton Theatre space at the National Theatre in 1976 and won the Evening Standard best play award. As a result, it was widely perceived as the triumph of alternative fringe theatre’s penetration of mainstream theatrical culture. It is audacious in both its striking use of shock techniques (such as the mixing of fantastic and realist elements) and its ambitions to make connections between contemporary social issues in Britain and the wider history of the European Left. Such disorientating techniques include such moments as that at the beginning of Act Two, where there is a scene with Josef Frank and Victor Clementis (Czech communists), a placid Joseph …

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Barfield, Steve, Ian Foakes. "Weapons of Happiness". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 February 2005
[, accessed 03 July 2015.]